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Life expectancy by ethnic group in England

BMJ 2021; 375 doi: (Published 09 November 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;375:e068537

Rapid Response:

Re: Life expectancy by ethnic group in England - genetics/deprivation or synergy?

Dear Editor

I note the statement "The higher covid-19 mortality in some ethnic minorities is primarily because of a higher risk of infection driven by a higher likelihood of living in densely populated urban areas; in larger and multigenerational households (especially among older Bangladeshi and Pakistani adults); and to work in public facing roles such as health and social care.. (ref 19,20)". This is an association finding and not necessarily a causation.

A very recent study has identified a gene in pulmonary epithelial cells that doubles the risk of respiratory failure and death from COVID-19. This gene is present in 60% of South Asians, but only 15% of Europeans. The higher mortality and more severe disease in certain ethnic groups might be, in part, explained by this finding. However, only 2% of people with African-Caribbean ancestry carried the higher risk genotype, which suggests other factors and possibly other genes might be at play in the higher mortality in some ethnic groups." ref 1

The variation in mortality in different ethnic groups is likely related to multitude of factors rather than being primarily due to "multigenerational living".

Yours Sincerely

1. Identification of LZTFL1 as a candidate effector gene at a COVID-19 risk locus: Nature Genetics volume 53, pages1606–1615 (2021):

Competing interests: No competing interests

09 November 2021
Akif Gani
Consultant Geriatrician and Stroke Physician
NUTH (Newcastle upon Tyne)
Newcastle upon Tyne.